Sunday, June 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge

My First Daring Bakers Challenge


A month ago I decided to join a really amazing group called the daring bakers. This is a group of over 1000 bloggers. We get a challenge every month and we must complete the challenge. I thought this would be a great way to challenge myself and that it did. This months challenge is Danish Dough. For about 2 weeks I just kept reading the recipe and saying there is no way I can pull this off it is way to hard. But finally I did it and it turned out great. I cant wait to make this again very soon .

Check out the other Daring Bakers blogs to see how there's turned out as well.

Here is the recipe for the Dough and the apple filling which is so amazing its good just on its own. Also the process through this amazing challenge.


Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

For the dough (Detrempe)
1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (I left this out of mine)
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 large eggs, chilled
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

For the butter block (Beurrage)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

1. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.

2. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

4. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

NOTE - This was the most difficult part the butter kept coming out but i would just spread it back in during the folding process. Working in a cool kitchen will help. I also didnt get very many pictures during this part since I was trying to get this right!

You do this 3 more times and then its off to the fridge to chill. Now I moved on to the best apple filling ever.

Makes enough for two braids

4 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 - 8 minutes. Then add the apple mixture and sauté until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. If you’ve chosen Fujis, the apples will be caramelized, but have still retained their shape. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid. (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.) They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet. After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.

I reduced the apples for a bit longer allowing the sauce to become a wonderful caramel sauce.

Makes enough for 2 large braids

I decided to make both of mine apple since the filling was so food. I am planning on making another one with a cheese filling very soon.

1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves (see below)

For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.

2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.

3. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.

I thought the easiest way to do this was to use a pizza cutter and I would alternate cutting sides to make sure they matched up and I had the same amount. Make sure you cut them on the baking sheet your going to bake on since moving it after would be very difficult. Once I had the apples all spread out thats when the braiding begins. I folded the top and bottom up to make sure nothing would leak out.

I used toothpicks to mark my dough so I made sure I had enough to be able to make the braid.

Egg Wash
Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.

Proofing and Baking
1. Spray cooking oil (Pam…) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.

2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.

3. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Craigster Sandwich


When Craig and I were in Miami a few weeks ago I decided to make lunch. So I invented the Craigster sandwich.

It is NY Strip steak which I broiled with steak seasoning, Challah bread sliced lengthwise. Tomatoes, Jarlsberg, Avocado and Steak Sauce. I toasted the Challah and then layered it with the Jarlsberg and then the hot steak to melt the cheese. Then I top with tomato's seasoned with salt & pepper and avocados. Finishing it off with steak sauce. The sandwich's are huge but as you can see Craig loved it.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Fajita Cupcake!

Sorry its been awhile since my last post. I will have a more complete post soon but to tide you over here are some pics of my fajita cupcakes.

I took store bought flour tortillas cut them out (actually my boyfriend cut them out) and baked them in muffin trays allowing them to get nice and crispy. I sprayed them with cooking spray. Then on the stove I sauteed chicken, onions and peppers.

I also made salsa and guacamole. Once the chicken is ready I filled the tortilla cups with the chicken covered them with cheese and put under the broiler. Pay close attention when you do this. The cheese melts fast and you dont want to burn the tortilla cups. Once the cheese was melted I topped with guacamole, salsa and sour cream. They turned out great and I will 100% be making these again but next time I would like to use home-made tortillas.